Are you frustrated because hiring managers aren't calling you about positions you've applied for? Have you applied for dozens -- if not hundreds -- of jobs, with zero response? It's a tough market out there, but there might be some mistakes you're making that aren't helping your case.
1. You're lazy about spell checking your résumé . There's nothing more grating on a hiring manager's nerves than a résumé full of errors. Fortunately, using the spell checker is an easy fix, but don't rely on this alone; it's still imperative that you carefully read through to make sure there are no syntax mistakes the software didn't catch. Review all the dates on your résumé. You don't want to appear to have sketchy work history because the dates are off. Read your résumé aloud to ensure you don't miss anything, and then ask a few friends to review it as well.
2. You do a poor job of explaining your work experience. It can be a challenge to really explain what you did at your last job, but having cloudy work experience certainly won't make you look appealing to potential employers. Start by making a list of all your responsibilities at a given job. Then condense them into your résumé, choosing the ones most related to the job you want. Ask co-workers to summarize your role, as they might have a different perspective and way of explaining your position.
3. You're blanketing the Internet with your résumé . Want to know why you aren't getting calls for interviews? Because you're not even reading the descriptions for half the jobs you apply for. Quantity does not beat quality. It's better to apply for fewer jobs that are actually a good fit.
4. Your résumé says a lot without saying anything. Maybe you don't have a lot of work experience, so you try to fill up your résumé with filler words to make it look longer. Employers aren't stupid; this is the equivalent of writing your high school final in 20-size font to make it meet the page requirement. Also, if a hiring manager can't quickly skim your résumé to get the gist of your work experience, she'll move on to the next one.
5. Your email address is childish. If you're sending your résumé from firstname.lastname@example.org, consider the impression you're making. If you're trying for professional, you're failing. It's free to create another email address, so use your name, or your first initial and last name as your email-address handle for all job-related correspondence.
6. You're applying for roles just out of reach. It's aspirational to want to grow your career, but consider whether those jobs you're applying for are a bit out of range for your current experience. For example, if you have five years of experience working as an account manager, it might be a stretch to apply for a vice president role. You'll get there, but you need more experience and promotions in between where you are and where you want to go.
7. You're spending time on Facebook that you should spend finding a job. You've applied for your three jobs this week; what's the big deal? If you think finding a job is something you can get done in an hour each week, you've just uncovered why you haven't been hired. Some say you should spend between 15 and 25 hours a week on the job hunt. Some say longer. It takes time to sift through job boards, look at companies' hiring pages, revamp your résumé and network online and off. If you're serious about getting hired, invest the time.
8. You don't know how to network. If all your efforts are going into applying for jobs on job boards, sorry to tell you: you're probably not going to find one. According to Jobvite's social recruiting survey from 2013, only about 14 percent of job seekers find a job on boards, while others get hired through networking efforts. Find networking groups that target your industry. Attend gatherings at the companies you have your eye on. Then connect with these people on social media to keep the relationships going. You don't want to flat out ask for a job, but you do want to get on these folks' radars.
9. You suck at interviews. How much time have you actually put into preparing for interviews? Don't put all your attention on the job search process and leave the interview to chance. There's plenty you can do beforehand to prep, including researching the company, learning about the key players there and practicing common interview questions.
10. Your online profile is nonexistent or questionable. These days, the first place hiring managers go to learn about applicants is Google. If there aren't any search results for your name, they can't really glean much about you beyond your résumé and cover letter. Or if they find wild spring break photos on Facebook, well, let's just say that doesn't cast the best light on your application. You can control what people find when they search for you simply by being active on blogs and professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Write content that relates to the field you want to work in. Participate in conversations. Start a professional website with samples of your work.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. Hoojobs was voted as a Top Career website by Forbes. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues and is chief editor of the HooHireWire - The Hoojobs Guide to Hiring & Getting Hired.
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